Interview with Tamil spokesperson

March 12, 2011

During early March, ALHR President Stephen Keim SC met with Father SJ Emmanuel, an eminent spokesperson on behalf of the Tamil community of Sri Lanka, and their ongoing quest for justice.

Father Emmanuel is a former Vicar-General of the Jaffna diocese. He is President of the Global Tamil Forum. Father Emmanuel fled Jaffna Peninsula along with other Internally Displaced People in 1995 and went into voluntary exile in Europe, a year later.

Father Emmanuel was touring Australia talking to NGOs and politicians. His talks and interviews drew attention to the long history of discrimination experienced by Tamils in Sri Lanka since, as Ceylon, it was granted independence in the late 1940s. He also drew attention to the renewed oppression of Tamils since the civil war ended with the crushing defeat of the LTTE in 2009. This has included the seizure of much former Tamil land for military purposes; restrictive military control of Tamil lives; and the imposition of Singhalese and Buddhist cultural buildings in Tamil areas.

This report of the interview with Father Emmanuel was published in the Courier-Mail on Saturday, 12 March: “Tamil ‘Tutu’ tells of abuses”.